Paying Our Respects

posted by / News / November 21, 2007

Maui’s Lipoa Point is the quintessential set-up; a leg-burning right on the south side and a bone crushing left to the north. From Honolua Bay to Windmills, the entire area is a testing ground for surfers. The rocky cliffs enclosing the bay are littered with broken boards ranging from 1960 single-fins to post-Clark Foam epoxies. These sacred surfboard cemeteries are a testament of time, tide and tradition. Unfortunately, the surfboard cemeteries and the waves that created them are under the threat of development.

Developers like to dig the sanctity right out of the earth and replace it with condos. The surfboard cemetery at Lipoa Point and the surrounding area is in danger due to a proposed development by landowner Maui Land & Pineapple (ML&P). So why would a pineapple company want to build condos? ML&P closed Maui’s only remaining cannery last June and is now focused on their more profitable business venture; development.

A portion of Lipoa Point was once a thriving pineappple field. However, it is now a developer’s dream. The land is riddled with lush rolling hills, endless ridges, panoramic ocean views and world-class waves. It is truly a pristine wilderness on an island being desecrated by timeshares and reality shows.

Last January, ML&P launched a campaign claiming that Honolua Bay needed to be better “managed.” Their definition of “managed” included 40 luxury homes and an 18-hole golf course.

The Save Honolua Coalition, founded by local surfer Elle Cochran, was able to halt ML&P’s development plans through loud, sustained community opposition. Petitions, protests, and meetings were as successful as they could be for a grass-roots organization up against corporate real estate tycoons. But the future of Honolua Bay and Lipoa Point remains uncertain. Maui Land & Pine has said repeatedly that they will not leave the bay as it is now.


Organizations like the Lipoa Point Advisory Council are trying to preserve the future of Honolua Bay. Plans range from installing earth-friendly toilets to building parking lots and pavilions. The goal is to manage the land through conservation and education rather than mansions and fairways.

But as yet, neither ML&P nor the conservationists have addressed the surfboard cemeteries. For the time being, they remain undisturbed. As the debate over the bay rages, the broken boards around Lipoa Point symbolize the lesson so many surfers already know.

Nature calls the shots.

[Find out more and show your support for the Save Honolua Coalition at: www.SaveHonolua.org]



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